2 Peter 1:3-4

2 Peter 1:3-4

(A Bible Study Led by Dr. Larry Reynolds)

February 27, 2014

 

 

1.      I recently read about young mother who was preparing lunch for her 5 year old daughter...opened a new bottle of ketch-up and was doing her best to get the ketch-up to come out of the bottle...was beating on the bottom of the bottle when the telephone rang...thinking the ketch-up was just about to start flowing and not wanting to stop, the mother said, “Honey, would you answer the telephone for me?”...the little girl walked into another room picked up the telephone and had a brief conversation with the caller...when she returned to the kitchen the mother asked, “Who was it?”...the little girl said, “It was the preacher.”...the mom said, “What did he want?”...and little girl replied, “I don’t know.  When I told him you were hitting the bottle he said he would call back at another time.”

2.      Story reminds me that sometimes the simplest things in life can be misunderstood...while I don’t think it’s accurate to characterized the Christian life as simple, I do think that we have a tendency to make it more complex that it needs to be and to misunderstand the life to which God calls us...

3.      In first chapter of 2 Peter the Apostle Peter gives to us a beautiful, well thought out description of the Christian life...I think his purpose in writing this chapter was to make sure that we don’t misunderstand the life to which we are called in Christ...in 2 Peter 1 at least 7 specific things about the Christian life are spelled out...

·         Of equal standing before God (v.1)

·         Of grace, peace, and knowledge (v.2)

·         Of power and promise (vv.3-4)

·         Of personal discipline (vv.5-9)

·         Of perseverance (vv.10-11)

·         That is rooted in an historical event (vv.12-18)

·         That is focused on God’s Word (vv.19-20)

4.      We have already dealt with 2 of those 7 things...

--from 2 Peter 1:1 we saw that the Christian life is a life of equal standing before God...in God’s kingdom there are no second or third class citizens...we saw from verse 1 that we are all the same before God...that is true because we all are saved in the exact same way--through faith in Jesus Christ...

--from 2 Peter 1:2 we that the Christian life is a life of knowledge...as recipients of God’s grace we are privilege to be characterized by a growing, intimate, personal knowledge of Him...

In this session we will focus on verses 3-4 which tell us the Christian life is a life of power and promise...

5.      All of us have three dimensions to our lives...we have a past...a present... and a future...it is interesting that for those who come to faith in Jesus, God makes full and complete provisions for every dimension of life...we find in Christ--

--forgiveness for the past...

--strength for the present...

--hope for the future...


In the first part of first chapter of 2 Peter, Peter alludes to God’s provision for each of these three dimensions of life...

--vv.1-2 speak of the salvation and grace that we have received through faith in Christ... it is this salvation and grace which provides us cleansing/ forgiveness for the past...

--v.3 speaks of God’s provision for the present...He gives us strength/power for living today...

--v.4 speaks of God’s promises which provide for our future...

 

GOD GIVE US POWER FOR TODAY

1.      The first part of v.3 tells us that God’s “...divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness...”...that is an amazing statement and it needs to be broken down phrase by phrase to be understood...

--”His divine power” - The word translated power is “dunamis”...same word used in Acts 1:8 where Jesus said, “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you...” …our words dynamite and dynamo both come from the word dunamis...and those words provide for us a clue as to what kind of power is being described by this word...it is explosive power like dynamite and it is continuing/lasting power like a dynamo or generator...and the key thing I want you to see in the phrase “...His divine power...” is that this power comes from God...it does not originate with us...it is not dependent on our intellectual ability or our physical strength or our cleverness or our stamina...it is  God power...

--”...has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” - Important not to misread that phrase...not “has granted to us everything...”...to stop with the word “everything” will cause you to misinterpret the purpose of God’s power in our lives...and too many people stop with that word...

--the purpose of God’s power in our lives is not to grant us “everything” in terms of financial resources...


--the purpose of God’s power in our lives is not to grant us “everything” in terms of physical health...

Look carefully at what this verse says...it says God’s “...divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness...”

--word translate “life” in this context refers to our spiritual well-being...it’s the way Jesus used the word when He said in John 10:10, “I come that you might have life and have it in abundance...”

--the word translated “godliness” is very interesting...it’s a compound word...first part means good or well...second part means to be devout or to worship...the word carries the idea of worshiping well or being very devout...this word is used several times in the NT to summarize what God expects from believers..

And when Peter says that God’s “divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness...” he is saying that God has given us everything we need to live in the present the life to which he calls us...

 


2.      Want to make one quick point of application from this verse to our lives...if God has really already given us “everything pertaining to life and godliness” it logically follows then that we don’t need more...unfortunately, many Christians just don’t understand that...they always seem to be looking for more...a deeper revelation...a new experience...a more powerful feeling ...and they think without such things they can never live the life they should...

3.      The people to whom Peter addressed this letter may have been thinking like that...early in the history of the church some false teachers arose claiming to have secret knowledge or special insights that no-one else had...they were teaching that unless believers were privy to their carefully guarded spiritual secrets they were in some way spiritually inferior...but in this verse Peter repudiates such thinking...says we already have what we need...

4.      Warren Wiersbe in his commentary on 2 Peter illustrates this principle this way...he says just as baby is born with a full genetic structure to enable that baby to grow into a mature adult, so when a person is born again (becomes a Christian) that person receives from Christ a complete spiritual genetic structure to enable that person to grow into a mature Christian [Wiersbe, Be Alert, p12]...doesn’t mean we should be stagnant...stop growing ...stop maturing...but does mean that in Christ we already have all that we need...

 

GOD GIVES US PROMISE FOR TOMORROW

Notice how Peter describes the promises of God in that verse... he calls them “precious and magnificent”...

--”precious” which is one of Peter’s favorite words, means highly valued or very costly...was used to describe something which obviously had great value...didn’t need an expert appraisal, could tell just by looking that the object was very costly...that’s how God’s promises are, Peter says...on their face it is obvious they have great value...

--”magnificent” - The root of that word is the Greek word megas from which our word mega comes...it means large, huge, of great significance...

What is it that makes God’s promises to us highly valued and very significant?  In 2 Peter 1:4 the Scripture answers that question in two ways...

 

God’s promises are precious and magnificent because of their source

1.      There’s an important thing about 2 Peter 1:4 want you to see...notice begins with the phrase “For by these...”...”For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises...”....that phrase looks back to the end of v.3 where the “glory” and “excellence” of God are mentioned...those are two great words...

--”glory” comes from a word which originally meant reputation or fame...

--”excellence” is sometimes translated virtue and it refers to excellence of character...

2.      And what Peter is saying by beginning this verse about God’s promises with the phrase “For by these...” is that the promises of God rest upon His reputation and His character...we can depend on them...rely on them...trust them because they come from God, Himself...

 

1.      Sounds redundant and elementary to say God’s promises are from God... but it is important that we not overlook that...Peter does not speak in this verse of just “...precious and magnificent promises...”...he speaks of “...His precious and magnificent promises...”...and that pronoun “His” makes all the difference in the world...the promises are great because they come from a great God!...

2.      Obviously, a promise is only as good as the person making the promise... if the “promiser” is unreliable, then the promise is unreliable...but if the “promiser” is reliable, then the promise is reliable as well...

 


God’s promises are precious and magnificent because of their purpose

  1. It would not be inaccurate to describe the Bible itself as a book of promises...someone has calculated that there are approximately 3000 promises in God’s Word...in this verse Peter sums up the purpose of God’s promises to us…that purpose is ”...that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature...”

  2. The biblical message is that we have in us the “imago deo” - the image of God...God made us to be like Him...but we have chosen our way over His way...disobedience over obedience...and because of that we have fallen and we are less than God intended for us to be...and all the promises God gives us in Scripture are aimed at reconciling that relationship and renewing that divine nature which God has placed inside of us...

  3. Think that is what Peter means when says at end of this verse that through the divine nature God has given us we have “...escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust...”

  4. What want you to see in all that the purpose of God’s promises to us is to equip us to live the full, complete, meaningful lives God created us to live...

     

    CONCLUSION

    I remember reading about a very poor family from Europe taking a ship to the United States....on night before they sailed, some friends gave them a basket of bread and cheese for the journey...and that is all the family had to eat for the first few days of the trip...finally tired of stale bread and moldy cheese, the sone begged his father for something different...the father took a small portion of their limited funds and allowed the son to search the ship for food to purchase...when the boy did not immediately return, the father went to look for him...he found the boy sitting at a large table in the dining room which was covered with food...the father was stunned...he knew the small amount of money he had given his son could not possibly cover the cost of such food...he chastised the boy for bringing shame on the family by eating food for which they could not pay...and the boy said, “But father, you don’t understand.  All of this food is included in the cost of our passage.  We could have been eating here every day!” [Raymond H. Bailey, quoted in Brian’s Lines, V.18, Issue 2, March/April, 2002, p.23] 

     

    And like that uninformed family, many Christians are trying to live on stale spiritual bread and moldy cheese when in reality God’s “divine power has granted to us…” and we are the recipients of “His precious and magnificent promises…”

     

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